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In Buford High School’s largest senior class to date, 349 of those 364 students in the class of 2021 graduated — an impressive and unprecedented 95.88%. The numbers released by the Georgia Department of Education recently revealed the graduation percentages for schools throughout the state.  

The statewide graduation rate for 2021 was 83.7%, a slight decrease from 2020’s 83.8% number for Georgia. Just over 100 school systems in Georgia recorded a 90% or higher graduation rate. Only 37 school districts and 98 schools were able to produce a rate of 95% or higher.  

While Buford High School’s number is more than 12 percentage points higher than the statewide average, it is important to note that Buford’s graduation rate increased by 3.13 percentage points from 2020 to 2021 — the highest increase in the metro Atlanta area. 

Buford High School Principal Teresa Hagelthorn presented the newly released data at October’s Board of Education meeting. 

 “It was encouraging to hear from Board Member Bruce Fricks, who pointed out how difficult it is to move from 92.75% to 95.88%,” Hagelthorn said, “We give all the credit for this incredible increase to our educators who serve our students.” 

Dr. Amy Chafin, Assistant Superintendent of Student Achievement for Buford City Schools, said, “To say the 2020-2021 school year was a challenge for educators, students, and parents would be an understatement. Yet, in the midst of a global pandemic, Buford High School’s class of 2021 posted the school’s highest graduation rate to date.”  

“Buford High School has experienced a 10-percentage point gain in the graduation rate since 2012, when Georgia began using a federally mandated formula to calculate the rate,” said Katie Strickland, Buford City Schools’ Strategic Communications Director. “This steady increase in the graduation rate over a 10-year period is the result of rigorous and relevant K-12 instruction, overwhelming parental involvement, unwavering support from the Board of Education and City of Buford, and a long-standing administrative commitment to excellence.”

Buford City Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Downs said, “Congratulations are in order to our students, staff members, and also the parents and guardians. Without their support and collaboration, this tremendous gain would not have been possible.” 

Sources: GaDoE; Buford City Schools; AllOnGeorgia.com

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